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LETTER: Sustainable Arlington Supports Mass. Ave. Corridor Project

Please vote “NO” on the misleading referendum known as Question 1 that seeks to derail the Mass. Ave. Corridor Project. Let the Town and State know that you favor a transportation vision for Arlington that meets our future needs in a balanced way. Here’s why we recommend voting “NO.”

Despite what opponents say, Mass. Ave. today does not have four lanes. Officially, it has a single, variable-width lane in each direction, but cars regularly drive side by side—or swerve and pass. Under current guidelines which determine roadway design and funding, Mass. Ave. does not qualify for four traffic lanes because it is not consistently wide enough. Maintaining “four lanes as practiced” will cause Arlington to lose $5.8 million in State and federal funding.

Opponents fear that traffic congestion will become intolerable. However, design engineers state that projected traffic volume will slow substantially with the proposed three lanes – one westbound toward Arlington Center and two eastbound to the Cambridge line (http://www.arlingtonma.gov/Public_Documents/ArlingtonMA_PLanning/MassAve/index).

The Town’s Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) supports the plan. Paramount among their concerns is pedestrian safety:

“TAC believes it is inherently safer for pedestrians to cross three travel lanes rather than four. New and newly-marked crosswalks, refuge islands, and curb extensions have been designed to further enhance safety. Improved visibility creates a safer environment for both pedestrians and drivers.”

Wider sidewalks will also support outdoor dining, more trees and benches. These features, along with improved pedestrian safety, will increase the appeal of shopping at Mass. Ave. businesses in East Arlington for both residents and visitors.
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